Appearing in "Superman: War of the Worlds"
- Superman (Only appearance; dies)
- Martian Tripods
Synopsis for "Superman: War of the Worlds"
Earth is being watched by the envious eyes of Mars. On the red planet a cold and unsympathetic civilization plans to invade our world. Far away, an even older world, Krypton, sends its last son to Earth. The baby Kal-El is found by the Kents and develops super strength, the ability to run faster than a steam line train, leap an eighth of a mile and has near-impenetrable skin. After the passing away of his elderly foster parents, Clark vows to use his powers to benefit mankind.
In 1938, explosions are seen on Mars, but Earth doesn't pay much attention to them. Clark applies for a job at the Daily Star, where he meets Lois. Perry White sends Clark and Lois to report on a meteor, which has crashed the previous night. They arrive just in time to see Professor Ogilvy and Doctor Luthor investigating the meteor, which is in fact a giant metal cylinder. The lid unscrews and the crowd around the cylinder cries in horror as they see a Martian emerge. Professor Ogilvy waves a white flag in hopes of communicating with the Martians, but is incinerated by one of their weapons. The crowd starts to panic as more shots are fired. When Clark protects Lois from the rays, his civilian clothes are burned off revealing Superman's costume underneath.
The Army arrives and prepares to deal with the cylinder when it opens and tripods emerge. The five tripods start firing at the army, whose weapons are useless against the metal hulls. Superman picks up a cannon and beats a tripod with it. As he finishes off the Martian inside, the four remaining tripods walk to Metropolis. Lois meets up with Lex and they retreat to Lex's laboratory. Earth's forces are being massacred until Superman joins the fight in Metropolis. Superman fights the tripods as best he can, but is subdued by another alien weapon, the black smoke. The tripods capture Lois, blast Clark with their heat ray and imprison him.
Three weeks later, Superman is held captive by the Martians, who are being helped by a now-bald Luthor after a Heat-Ray burned off all of his hair. All of Earth's major cities have been conquered and many humans have been reduced to slaves or cattle. Luthor reveals that Earth's bacteria have been making many Martians sick, and that they are studying Clark, who he deduces is in fact an alien like them. At Luthor's request, Lois has been kept alive, mostly to keep Superman in check. Lex deduces that Clark's Kryptonian biology is canceling the deadly effects of Earth's bacteria, which is why the Martians around him are not sick.
The Martians now no longer need Luthor to help them study Superman and they prepare to devour him. Lois and Luthor free Clark and he starts fighting the Martians. After leveling the ones inside the ship and the ones tending to their human prisoners, Lois recoils from Superman, telling him that she can't bear to have an alien touch her after what the Martians have done. Tripods arrive and Superman takes them down as best he can. The last tripod discards its legs and begins to fly. As Superman finally takes it down, he dies from exhaustion and from the wounds he received from the Heat-Rays.
Acting on Clark's insight, Luthor quickly finds a way to destroy the remaining Martians. Earth begins to rebuild its lost civilizations; Germany, Japan, Italy and the Soviet Union turn into semi-democratic governments while Great Britain elects Oswald Mosley as leader. Lex Luthor and Lois Lane later marry. John Nance Garner becomes President and Lex becomes the new Vice President. A statue of Clark Kent is erected in front of the new League of Nations as a testament to his bravery.
- Clark Kent never actually calls himself Superman in this story.
- In Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths, the setting of Superman: War of the Worlds was stated as being Earth-1938.
- The story is set in 1938 because this is the year in which Superman was introduced and was also the year of the well-known radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" narrated by Orson Welles. Several other items reflect the early elements of the title before they changed over time (such as the Daily Planet initially named the Daily Star).
- Noticeably, this issue isn't the first time that paired Superman with a "War of the Worlds"-type story line. In Superman #62 (1950), Superman encounter Orson Welles and at the same time preventing a Martian invasion while the story makes nods to Welles' infamous broadcast.
- Aside from basing on the "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, the story also pays homage to the original H.G. Wells novel in which includes: Woking, which is an English town where the first Martian cylinder landed; the inclusion of Professor Ogilvy; and scenes of the Martians firing on a white flag/peace delegation.
- During the first battle between the U.S. military and the Martians, one American soldier quotes "Guns, tanks, bombs...they're like toys against them!" This is a line taken from the 1953 film adaption of The War of the Worlds.
- While answering calls at the Daily Star, Lois says: "No Ma'am, I don't know if Li'l Abner's ever going to marry Daisy Mae..." a reference to the comic strip Li'l Abner. The series' creator Al Capp eventually let the couple marry in 1952.
- While Lois calls Perry White she quotes Herbert Morrison (the announcer to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster) while describing the massacre: "Th-They set the train on fire! All those people - The Humanity--!"
- Lex Luthor calls Clark Kent the "Nietzschean Superman", which is a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche and his concept of the Übermensch.
- Until Superman #7, George Taylor was Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Star at which Clark Kent and Lois Lane worked, before Perry White replaced him.
- The scene of Superman holding a car above his head is a clear contribution to the cover of Action Comics #1, which debut the first appearance of Superman.
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Links and References
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